I Am A Syrian Refugee; This Is How I Made It To Greece

After the beginning of the war in Syria I wrote many posts on my Facebook wall against the regime. Unfortunately, somebody reported me to the Syrian police.
Mohammad Ali Madania

This is Mohammad’s story. In a series of blogs this week he will be talking us through his journey from Syria to Greece and the difficulties he faced along the way.

My name is Mohammad, I was born in 1972 in Lattakia city, Syria and I studied to become an electrical engineer.

I became disabled at six months after doctors gave me the wrong injection because of a high fever and I’ve been in a wheelchair ever since. During my childhood I was a clever little boy, and everybody loved me.

In the 1980s there was a civil war in Syria, similar to the war nowadays. My big brother Akram and my father were arrested by the Syrian police. After six months my father was released from prison but he had a liver pain and bone problems. After four years of medical treatments and numerous visits to the hospital, he died. We hadn’t heard anything about my brother until one day in 1994 a prisoner from the same prison told us that my brother was killed in Palmyra prison during the famous massacre there, a killing allegedly organised by Rifaat al-Assad, Hafiz‘s brother.

When I was fourteen years old my dad died. Three years later my mother followed him. From that moment onwards, I was alone in the wild world and that pushed me to work as a teacher. So, alongside studying, I was teaching Maths and English. After graduating from university as an engineer, I turned to teaching because I had my own small project: a small institute for students aged thirteen to seventeen.

In 2006 I married my wife, who was studying economics and business. We were a happy couple living a simple and great life. Together we formed a family with two marvellous daughters, Abir and Alma. Abir is twelve years old now and Alma is ten. We were a joyful family and everything was great; we celebrated and shared our special moments together as every other family: birthdays, Eid and New Year Eves.

AFP Contributor via Getty Images

After the beginning of the war in Syria my business began to get worse and my students fewer and fewer. During that period I was living in Alhaffa, a small city near Lattakia, and it was there where I wrote many posts on my Facebook wall against the regime. Unfortunately, somebody reported me to the Syrian police, something that led to my persecution.

I couldn’t return to the territory belonging to the regime due to the threats I’d received, and because of my father and brother’s experiences in regime prisons, I was even more afraid to go back. But I knew it wasn’t safe for my wife and daughters to live in Alhaffa so the only option was to separate the family; for me to leave and for them to go back to Lattakia, where my wife’s family had a home.

After this, I went to Idlib city, which is controlled by the opposition and I stayed there until I came to Turkey. During the time I was living there I worked in a small shop, like a small supermarket, that belonged to an old man. He offered me a tiny room near the shop to sleep in but after a while the living conditions began to worsen, pushing me to think about going to the Netherlands where my sister lives.

When I discussed this decision with my wife, I expected the crisis in Syria would finish in a matter of months, Bashar al-Assad’s regime would fall, and he’d leave Syria. Sadly, after three years of war and destruction I realised that the conflict wasn’t actually about Bashar, but a collusion against our people, not for Syrian land, but for what lies under it.

Finally, I made up my mind and decided to travel to Turkey.

You can find part two of Mohammad’s blogs here.

You can donate to Mohammad’s JustGiving page below:


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